Utah Red Rocks have opportunity for a second win over a top-10 gymnastics program

The Red Rocks face No. 3 Cal on Saturday on the road.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Coach Carly Dockendorf as Utah hosts Boise State, NCAA gymnastics in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024.

The Utah Red Rocks picked the right time to eclipse 198 in their scoring.

After a season-high outing against Stanford on Friday — a night where Grace McCallum earned a perfect 10 on floor and three gymnasts nearly got 10s on beam — the Red Rocks are brimming with confidence.

“The timing of it is excellent,” coach Carly Dockendorf said, “because we are just kind of hitting our stride right now.”

And they’ll take that stride into a road matchup on Saturday against Cal, which is ranked third in the country. The Golden Bears are coming off a season-high themselves, a 198.400 in their win over UCLA.

The No. 4 Red Rocks have had an impressive season thus far, and have won their last eight meets. They’re 5-0 in Pac-12 competition as well.

The last time Utah didn’t finish with higher scores than an opponent was a month and a half ago, when it faced Oklahoma, LSU and UCLA — three of the top 10 programs in the country — in a quad meet. The Red Rocks finished fourth that afternoon.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah’s Grace McCallum celebrates with her teammates after performing on the beam as Utah hosts Stanford, NCAA gymnastics at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024.

Since then, though, Utah’s scores have been climbing. The Red Rocks finally put together a complete meet against Stanford for the first time all season, and they expect that to continue.

“We have been really consistent,” Dockendorf said. “From here, we’re really going to focus on the 0.05 — just some small areas we can improve on.”

The vault landings are what Dockendorf feels have been leading to her gymnasts not getting higher scores.

“Our vaults are big,” Dockendorf said. “But as you can tell, judges are really taking the deduction on landings this year.”

Saturday is the last opportunity for the Red Rocks to measure themselves against the top competition in the country before the Pac-12 Championships on March 23. It appears they have the right mentality to beat its second top-10 team in less than a month.

“This is what we train for is to compete against the best,” Dockendorf said. “We’re just really looking forward to that opportunity to competing against Cal. I know our team’s excited to go and compete against [the] No. 3 ranked team in the country and just bring our very best.”